Political correctness is one of the engines of nannyism. Allowing and even encouraging "offensive" ideas is vital for the intellectually health of a free society. Too many of us believe they have the "right" not to hear anything or smell anything or see anything that is offensive. Still, I believe the average American has an innate small "l" libertarian impulse. And that is exactly why nannies will often transform something that is merely annoying, like second-hand smoke, into something that can kill you on contact...It must be added that many conservatives are also ideologically inconsistent on this issue. During the overblown Janet Jackson... controversy, Republicans, who...were advocating the elimination of the FCC, now were entertaining the idea of expanding the regulatory power of that organization to encompass cable and satellite television because a over-the-hill disco singer popped a mammary. There is a difference between condemning the repugnant...and advocating that government protect us from the repugnant. That's the distinction between a nanny and an active citizen. Too many folks, if something is the "right thing to do" government should force us to comply. It's a dangerous idea. Because the right thing is almost always subjective...Nanny State, Interview with David Harsanyi, Jamie Glazov, Front Page Magazine, 10/19/2007
In the Mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg, the Nanny State has found yet another laboratory. Nanny State-ism had long been the province of California, where wacky regulations and laws have been de rigueur for decades, but Mayor Bloomberg's New York, mirrored in the Presidential campaign promises of New York Senator Hillary Clinton, is now a principal center of state intervention in private behavior and state-sponsored lawlessness. Since Mayor Bloomberg came to office in January of 2002, the city has deemed it appropriate to regulate smoking, instruct restaurants on the appropriate fat content in the food they serve (regardless of what customers prefer), has become a leading city in the local attempt to circumvent and violate federal law on immigration, has reinvigorated state intervention in community development through use of eminent domain to subsidize private developers, has pressed for dramatically increased breadth and definition of hate crimes -- in short, Bloomberg is the new state padrone of New York City. Contemptuous of personal choices and liberty, he recently returned from London to tell New Yorkers that they had no right not to be under constant surveillance. All of this, from regulation of consumer choices to destruction of local property owners to bizarre concepts of a "secure" state, is what a President Clinton and the socialist Democrats have planned for the entire country, the utter subversion of liberty and property for "the greater good," i.e., the power and authority of the state.
Harsanyi knows this danger better than most. He came from Hungary in 1969, long before the Reds closed their tank and soldier show. The Reds, in the course of 80 years, killed off twenty to forty million Russians and "allies" for "the greater good". The Nazis, another socialist crew bent on the "greater good" of der volk of Germany, set off a war that killed fifty million more, including six million Jews. When a tiny minority, by lies, cheating, and slander, gains the power to determine what is good and bad, the ultimate results never change. Once a minority presumes it has absolute authority, it will brook no opposition, even if it means killing (or ruining the lives of) half the country.
The totalitarian temptation comes in many guises. We know the big bogeys: Hitler; Stalin; Mao; Pol Pot. But we don't pay attention to another variation of this always fatal infection, the sudden appearance of ranks of people concerned for our welfare, and impatient to the point of hysteria if we disagree with their decisions on how we should run our lives. That kind of soft totalitarian thinking is what's got the socialist Democrat party in a frenzy now. Their whole program has been subverted by it.
Democrats used to stand for equal opportunity with advancement based on merit and achievement instead of on race or sexual preferences. That has been subverted by victim theory to the ideological madness of demanding equal success, where merit, achievement, background, intelligence itself are tossed in the trash in the name of an absolute equality that is observed nowhere in nature. The precedent is not a rural commune under the aegis of Walt Whitman, but the USSR under Josef Stalin.
We will have more on that in subsequent posts. This is to vital to ignore. You might start by looking at this interview.
You should also get Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children, Harsanyi's book. It might turn your head from co-conspirators of the Nanny State in either party.